John Seale: Freedom means allowing moral people to decide 'right thing'

GUEST OPINION: HOBBY LOBBY SUPREME COURT CASE

June 5, 2014 

Hobby Lobby is defending freedom for all of us as it challenges the assertion that our government has the legal authority to override sincerely held moral and religious beliefs of business owners. Some of the contraceptives business owners are required to provide their employees under the Affordable Care Act are believed to be tantamount to abortion by Hobby Lobby owners. They object to this on moral and religious grounds.

In a March 27 Idaho Statesman column, Boise State University professor of public affairs David Adler wrote concerning this U.S. Supreme Court case that "business corporations are legal entities distinct from the people who create them" and should not be afforded "religious liberty."

This is a very peculiar and misguided claim. The very core of a free human society relies on the moral integrity of its many individual citizens. Where does the moral integrity of a business corporation come from? Its owners and directors (individuals). When a business enters into contracts, and in the ordinary course of doing business, we expect honest and responsible behavior, right? Without a doubt, knowing the personal integrity and moral inclinations of the owners and directors of a business is the best gauge in determining the integrity of that business.

How odd (fraudulent) is it for the government to claim that the moral beliefs of business owners are not appropriate and that businesses are obligated to act in ways that the owners believe to be immoral? How about the government itself and its agencies? Do we really want government agencies and businesses run by individuals without the assumption of personal moral integrity? If these business entities are so distinct from the people who own and run them, then who is responsible for them? Who decides what they "ought" to do?

America is losing sight of what freedom is. Many now believe immorality is a new human right, as if we are no more responsible for our human behavior than we are our skin color.

The reality is that freedom cannot exist without a moral and religious people who have the courage and wisdom to do what is right and good, sometimes at their own peril. Without this there is a compelling argument that the government should exercise more and more control over society, to use the force of law to compel individuals and businesses to do "the right thing." Except now, "the right thing" is defined by a government bureaucracy instead of by us as a free people with moral agency.

Hobby Lobby risks a fine of up to $1.3 million a day if it loses. What is the risk to the rest of America? Freedom itself. It's true; America is being fundamentally changed as we lose the concept of personal morality and adopt the concept of social responsibility (i.e., the collective). With the power to override individual and corporate citizens' moral consciousness, what could a government regime do? Answer: Anything it wants. This is tyranny's dream come true - again.

Seale lives in Caldwell.

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